Savoury Oats with a Twist!

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I’ve got a new obsession. Savoury oats! All along, I’ve been having my oats with honey, fruits and even with the addition of Milo (OMG it’s super good haha) but I’ve been trying to see if there are other ways to cook oats and make the little man like it as well!

So i found the recipe from Martha Stewart and I just had to try it out. It had the ingredients that Lochlan loved – cheese & egg – so it must be a winner, right? RIGHT! hehe He absolutely loved it and could finish it all. Of course, his egg was cooked through and I kept mine runny, cause it adds a sauce to the oats, and it’s just absolutely delicious!

Savoury oats

So using Martha Stewart’s recipe as the base, I did added more savoury ingredients that I thought would pump it up! And this morning, I made a winner. With the addition of crispy bacon bits! I mean, how can I not? Bacon makes everything yummier right? ABSOLUTELY! hehe

So here’s the recipe for my favourite version of the savoury oats. You can pretty much add your favourite ingredients and it would taste yummy! hehe

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Savoury Oats with Sunnyside Up, Bacon & Cheese (Adapted from Martha Stewart, Recipe for 2 adults, 1 toddler)

1 cup quick oats (I used Macro Quick Oats)

3-4 large eggs (depends on how many eggs each person eats)

3-4 tbs shredded cheddar cheese

1-2 slices of bacon, chopped finely

1-2 tbs chopped chives

1-2 tbs fried scallions

Maggi seasoning (Optional, for adults)

Tamari (Optional, for toddlers)

Steps :

1) In a medium size pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quick oats and simmer till oats are tender, about 5 minutes.

2) While thats cooking, heat a frying pan and fry the bacon bits till crispy. Pour onto a kitchen towel to absorb the oil. Then using the same pan, fry the eggs on a low heat, till all the egg whites are cooked, leaving the yolk runny. For toddlers, flip the egg and cook the yolk through.

3) To serve : Pour the oats into 3 bowls, top with the shredded cheese, then sprinkle some bacon. Top with the sunny side up egg and season with a few drops of maggi seasoning/ tamari. Then sprinkle a bit more bacon, chopped chives and fried scallions. ENJOY!

Savoury oats with runny yolk egg

Let me know what your favourite combinations are! Would definitely like to give them a go (:

Remember to always bake and cook with love! Till the next post, xx!

Last Bits, Good Bits.

Happy Monday my dear readers! Hope all of you had a really good start to the week. More eating adventures continues in this post, but I promise this will be the last one! So thank you for going through this adventure with me the last few weeks! Just re-capping everything we did is making me want to head back to Daylesford again! I hope it has inspired you all to also make a trip down cause you won’t regret it! (:

Of course, we started our day with the same amazing breakfast. How could we not right? hehe Till this day I’m still thinking about the breakfast we had and wanting more. So after we had our breakfast we chilled in our room for a little bit before setting off to try some more cafes this beautiful town had to offer.

Our first stop was Cliffy’s Emporium which was a store, cafe and wine bar. They have a whole range of local produce and their menu changes regularly and according to the seasonal produce. We were still really full from breakfast so we decided to just have something light, although there were lots of things I would have liked to try. Besides, we needed to save some things to try for our next visit, right? hehe

We ordered a small cheese platter and a pot of peppermint tea to go with. The platting was so pretty! Like art on a plate! We sat under the sun and enjoyed each other’s company. It’s really nice how there still seems to be alot of things to share with the mr although we see each other everyday. The best thing about being with your best friend. (: We could just chat and discuss about everything under the sun (pun intended hehe).

The small platter came with two delicious and creamy cheeses : one of which is goat and the other was a type of cheddar. I do apologise that I don’t know the names of the cheeses, as I wasn’t at the table when it was served. There was also a side of maple syrup which went really well with the cheese! Might be something we will try at home soon I reckon! hehe There’s something about the sweet and salty combination I love! Mmm (:

We then found a brochure I picked up amidst the whole pile that caught my attention : $1 oysters at Darmagi! Something my mr adores! He could finish a dozen on his own, and he did exactly that! (:

I don’t fancy oysters, especially when they are raw. The Mr LOVES them. Although they were $1 each, the quality wasn’t compromised! They were plump and juicy! The dozen were all slurped down within minutes! haha According to him, the best way to have them is just with a splash of lemon juice and nothing else! (:

The happy boy with his plate of oysters (: I think he could have had another dozen, easy. hah But I don’t think it’ll be good for his cholesterol!

What I really liked about Daylesford and Hepburn Springs is that their local cafes and restaurants all support local produce and this includes their drinks! Loving their cute logo as well. We had to try some of their sparkling liquid and I decided on the sparkling blood orange mineral water which was really refreshing. Loved it!

The Mr had the organic brewed ginger beer and it was really yummy without an overpowering taste of ginger and spice. Definitely went well with the oysters he had. hehe I have to say, ginger beer (alcoholic or not) is one of my favourite soft drinks! I’m not a big fan of coke or other carbonated drinks. It’s usually either ginger beer or sparkling apple juice to quench my thirst hehe

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. The Perfect Drop was one place that was highly recommended by not just the retreat but also from other blogs that I’ve read as I was researching on the places to visit. So without much thought, we made a reservation for dinner and headed there, hungry and full of excitement! Before I share with you what we had, I have to apologise that I’ve only got pictures of the entrees we had that night as it got too dark, and the iphone camera just couldn’t take any good shots when the mains and desserts arrived. So I’m really sorry! But here are the entrees we had that night (:

A Perfect Drop is a wine and food lounge that had a very cosy interior. We were shown to our tables by the window, close to the fire place. It was perfect for taking photos (until it started getting dark that is). Still kicking myself as to why I didn’t bring my camera along. But too late now!

After ordering our food, we were served with warm bread with a side of olive oil and sea salt. Nothing beats warm bread to be honest. The smell of the bread slowly envelops the air around us. Just the best smell in the world!

The first thing we ordered was the white anchovies with a boiled quail egg on toast with micro herbs. This was really delicious! Every single bite just makes me crave for more. The white anchovies just melts in your mouth and had the right amount of saltiness. Everything just went together so well. I had to pull myself back from ordering another haha

Another entree that we wanted to try was the homemade beef chorizo. It was delicious, juicy and just filled with spices and did I mention delicious? I didn’t know what was in the green mojo, but it was like a tapenade which complimented the chorizo very well. I never had a beef version before, usually the ones sold in the delis are made using pork. So this was definitely something different. But a good kind of different of course (:

Besides these 2 entrees that we ordered to share, we ordered 2 individual entrees as well. hehe We couldn’t help ourselves. There were too many things we wanted to try!

I ordered the veal carppacio with manchego, celeriac salt and horseradish mustard. How pretty is that? hehe It’s no wonder why people say we eat with our eyes. Don’t you just wanna dive your fork into this plate? I’ve not had veal carppacio, just beef. But they didn’t taste alot different, just a little gamier. But not overly so. i really enjoyed it! If you haven’t noticed, I usually have either a carppacio or a scallop dish for entree. haha I’m boring like that.

The mr ordered the stuffed duck neck with pork and pistachio sausage and it was just delish! When I saw it on the menu, I knew he would have to order it. The Mr is one person I know that would eat every single part of most animals. Yes, even the offal. It also means he doesn’t waste any part of the animal, just one of the things I love about him. (: The skin was crispy and the sausage stuffing was juicy and flavourful. Just a delight with every bite!

As much as I love to say the service was as good as the food we had that night, it was unfortunately a little inconsistent. We didn’t feel as included or welcomed as compared to the other tables. Perhaps it’s just us being sensitive, but there wasn’t a point when we were asked how our food was, or if we were enjoying the meal. In fact, after the first entree, I told one of the staff that it was amazing and she actually had a shock expression on her face, which I really couldn’t understand. It’s a real pity though, cause the food was really really good. But like I say in my reviews, service does play a huge part of the dining experience. So we left the restaurant with a bitter-sweet taste in our mouths.

So this wraps up our adventures of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs! I do hope you enjoyed everything I’ve shared with you! I can’t wait to head back to Daylesford and try the other restaurants that I missed this time round! (: Have a great week ahead everyone! xx

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Jelly Hearts

Ever since I started being more active in the blogging world, I’ve been really blessed with meeting new friends! Recently, I was invited to attend Peach-water’s birthday dinner but cause I was down with really bad hayfever, I told her that we’ll rearrange dinner and I would make her something special. (: I couldn’t think of anything better but some strawberry jelly hearts!

If you feel that these pretty cakes look familiar, I did make them ages ago and did a post on it. But I went back to look at it and the photos were so small! So here I am, re-doing the post and sharing the recipe again. It’s really interesting to see the difference a few years on! (:

I have to say, these are not difficult to make, just time consuming as you have to make sure each layer is set properly before starting on the next! The most important layer is the jelly layer, as you have to allow the jelly mixture to cool before pouring onto the cream cheese layer, to get a clear jelly layer! (: Patience, is the key when making this!

I used to only use vanilla essence when making the cream cheese filling, but I decided to use vanilla bean paste this time round. There is just something magical when you see the little black dots! And the flavour it gives the cream cheese is not comparable to just using the essence. If you do have vanilla beans, please give it a try!

These little rectangular cheesecakes with a heart in the middle make beautiful gifts for your loved ones and your friends. So the next time you are thinking of what to get for them, why not give these a try? Nothing can compared to things made with love!

Jelly Hearts 

Base : 

320g digestive biscuits

160g melted unsalted butter

Cheese Filling :

250g cream cheese

2 1/4 tsp gelatine powder

70g caster sugar

150ml hot water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

8 medium sized strawberries

Jelly Topping : 

2 packets of strawberry flavoured jello (170g)

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups room temp water

Steps :

1) For the base : Place the biscuits in a ziplock bag, and crush them till they are fine, making sure there are no big chunks. Pour them into a large bowl, and mix in the melted butter.

2) Pour them into the base of a 9×9 square baking tray. Press onto the base and make sure it’s really compressed and make it as flat as you can. Prick the base with a fork and chill for at least 15 minutes.

3) For the cheese filling : Cut the strawberries into half. Using a small heart shape cutter, cut hearts out of the strawberry halves and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.

4) Place gelatine and sugar in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

5) In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste together and slowly add the gelatine syrup gradually until smooth. Pour it over  the base. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes then place the strawberry hearts, partially submerged in the cheese filling. Place it back into the fridge and refrigerate for 2 hours.

6) For the jelly topping : Dissolve the jello in hot water and stir well. Add the room temperature water and allow it to cool completely before pouring over the cheese filling. (Use a ladle and slowly pour the mixture over the strawberries instead of the cheese to keep the jello clear!)

7) Chill it in the fridge for another 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

Enjoy! (: And Happy Hatchday once again my dearest friend!

*Note : When slicing, make sure you clean the knife after every cut. It might seem difficult to get them out without it being messy, but start with the corner and use a spetula to help you. Once you have the first piece out, the rest would be a breeze! 

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Lychee Cheesecake In A Jar

I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time. Making a dessert in a jar that is. I’ve been really amused by the whole concept and also totally in love with how the desserts turn out. You don’t even need to decorate it much, just place a ribbon around the mouth of the jar and place it with a spoon, viola! (: You have a beautiful looking dessert on the table. Perfect for a dinner party or even gifts for friends!

I had a block of cream cheese sitting in my fridge for the longest time, and have been wanting to make something with it. I wanted to make some japanese cheesecake, but decided to make something new instead. So searching my pantry, I found a tin of lychees and decided to use them!

Lychees are definitely one of my favourite fruits. But it’s so difficult to find the fresh version here, even if they sell it, it’s so crazy expensive! haha So I always have a tin of lychees sitting in my pantry. (: I have to admit, i’ve not had cream cheese with lychees before, but I suppose, it should go well with a sweet fruit puree. Right? hehe So here goes nothing!

I did a bit of research and found a recipe that sounded easy and the product looked absolutely gorgeous, so I just had to give it a try. The only downside to this recipe? Is that I have to wait for the cheesecake to set, before being able to indulge in them! haha But I am a firm believer of delayed gratification! This is one dessert that is definitely worth the wait! (:

Oh yes! I did add a bit of lychee liquor, which I always have in my pantry, just to make it a little boozy! hehe But definitely not enough to taste it. hehe Almost no effect at all.

Lychee Cheesecake in a Jar (adapted from Honest Vanilla)

For the base :

100g digestive biscuits

40g short bread

60g butter, melted

For the lychee cheese layer :

500g cream cheese

300g thicken cream

240g lychees, drained and reserve syrup

100ml lychee syrup

1 tbs lychee liquor

50g sugar

3 tsp powdered gelatine

Steps : 

This recipe is enough for 6 jars and a 6-inch springform pan.

1) Break the digestive biscuits and the shortbread by sealing them in a ziplock bag and crushing them using a rolling pin. Make sure you get them quite finely.

2) Pour the crushed biscuits in a bowl, and pour the melted butter over them evenly. Combine both butter and  biscuits are well combined and press them evenly at the bottom of the jars and springform pan. Set and chill in the fridge while preparing the lychee cheese layer.

3) In a small pot, heat the lychee syrup till it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and add the gelatine. Stir until it dissolves completely. Set aside to cool.

4) Puree the lychees in a blender until there are less visible chunks. Add the lychee liquor and mix it well.

5) Whisk the cream cheese in a mixing bowl with the sugar until smooth, then add the lychee puree. In another bowl, whip the cream to a soft peak and gently fold it into the cream cheese and lychee mixture.

6) Once it’s well combined and smooth, add the gelatine mixture and fill a piping bag with the lychee cheese mixture. Slowly pipe it into the jars. Pour the rest of the mixture into the springform pan. Set to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. (I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight.) 

7) To serve, top it with a bit more buttered crumbs, and a lychee. I added half a strawberry for more crunch and texture! Also, pour 1 tsp of lychee syrup on top just before serving for extra sweetness!

ENJOY!

Note to self : Definitely add a little bit more next time! hehe Of course, you can leave it out if you want a kid-friendly version! hehe

Prawn Mac N Cheese

It’s Friday people! And to welcome the weekend, I decided to go all out and make an indulgent (and sinful) dish – Prawn Mac N Cheese! (: Ever since we had mac n cheese at the Sharing house a few weeks back (a post that will come soon, I promise!), I have been wanting to make some. Especially after seeing Neil Perry’s version of truffle mac n cheese. That was definitely a push factor!  So there was no better day to make it but on a Friday!

And what better way to enjoy a Friday night in with a comforting bowl of cheesy pasta, with a glass of wine and the plan of having a Batman movie marathon with the mr? Absolutely, nothing! (:

This was a really simple recipe and you definitely could start cooking and end up indulging on your couch in less than 1 hour! Sounds good? Here’s the ultimate winter warmer!

Prawn Mac N Cheese (an original recipe)

250g dried macaroni

60g butter

1 whole onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

320g prawns, diced into chunks

1 cup shredded gouda

1 cup shredded cheddar

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1/2 tbs dijon mustard

450 ml cream

100 ml milk

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper, to season

Steps :

1) Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water for 7-8 mins, or until al dente.  Drain and refresh in cold water before draining again and set it to one side.

2) In a large pot, melt the butter then add the onion, carrots and garlic. Fry till they get fragrant and soft. Do keep an eye on the garlic and be careful not to burn them.

2) Add the cream and allow it to boil and reduce by 1/4. Add the mushrooms, dijon mustard and milk and boil it for another 10 minutes. Add the prawns and cook the mixture on a low simmer until liquid thickens.

3) Take the cream mixture off the heat, and slowly add the gouda and cheddar. Stir it gently, till the cheeses have all melted and combined with the cream. Put the pot back on a low heat, then add the macaroni and stir it till it’s well combined.

4) Season with salt and pepper, then add the grated parmesan. Place the macaroni and cheese in a baking tray, then top it with bread crumbs and more parmesan if you want. Under a hot grill, grill until the top is golden and crispy.

Serve and enjoy on a couch with your favourite movie! (:

So what is your ultimate comfort food? Do share! hehe

Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon

Corn fritters. Who doesn’t like them? Whenever I go for brunch, I will first look out for corn fritters on the menu and if there isn’t any then I will venture out to try something else! That’s how much I like corn fritters. Nothing better than having something crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with corn kernels bursting in your mouth with every bite! mmmm.

Corn fritters at Replete Providore sparked my obsession with fritters (:

The best corn fritters I had was at Replete Providore in Hawthorn and I couldn’t get enough of it after that! I can proudly say Replete Providore sparked my addiction to corn fritters (yes, it was THAT good!)! They serve theirs with bacon, sour cream and tomato-chilli relish which was sweet and tangy which I love!

But cause I made these on a Friday, and it’s meatless Friday. I had to use something else besides bacon. So opening the drawers in the fridge, I found my last packet of smoked salmon! The first was used to make the tomato and cream smoked salmon pasta a week ago! *PHEW* Lucky I had a packet left, as I was sure the saltiness of the smoked salmon would be perfect with these fritters!

 Instead of layering it with sour cream and the tomato-chilli relish, I thought I made it less sinful (just a tad bit) by mixing plain greek yogurt with the aubergine (eggplant) and chilli pickle I bought from a little store at Mount Dandenong a while back.

It was perfect! Creamy-sourish-spicy and added just a little touch of sweetness with some sweet chilli sauce as garnish.

These fritters were crispy and I added cheese to it so it was cheesy in the center. Everything you would want in your breakfast. The addition of okra was surprisingly good because it added an extra crunch. Just love different textures in my dishes! hehe So if you’re a corn fritter lover like me and wanna try whipping this up, here is the recipe! (: I’m very sure you will love it! Cos the mr and I both did!

Corn & Okra Fritters with Smoked Salmon (makes 5 relatively large fritters, serves 2)

 12 pieces of okra, sliced

1/2 cup of corn kernels, roasted in the oven and cooled down

1/2 cup + 2 tbs plain flour

1/2 cup chredded tasty cheese

4 mini bocconcini, sliced thinly

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup whole milk

1 egg

freshly ground black pepper, to season

fresh coriander, for garnish

2 tbs sweet chilli sauce, for garnish (1 tbs for each stack)

vegetable oil, for frying

aubergine & chilli pickle yogurt dressing (optional, recipe to follow)

100g smoked salmon

Steps :

1) Heat the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat while preparing the fritter batter.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combined the okra, corn kernels, the cheeses, salt and pepper and mix it well. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon/spatula. Add the milk and egg and mix until there are no dry flour left in the bowl.

3) Once the oil is hot enough (test this by dropping a little of the batter into the oil, it should bubble vigorously), drop 2 heap tablespoons of batter into the oil and flatten it with a wooden spoon. Make sure it’s not too thick, or else the middle might be raw after being pan-fried.

4) Fry the batter one at a time, or at most 2. Fry each side for 2-3 minutes or until each side is a beautiful golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

5) Serve with alternate layers of fritters, yogurt dressing and smoked salmon in a stack and top with a tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce for each stack and fresh coriander. Make sure you serve the fritters warm/hot!

Aubergine & Chilli Pickle Yogurt Dressing

2-3 heap tbs of aubergine & chilli pickle (or any relish you have in your pantry)

4-5 tbs plain greek yogurt

Step :

Just mix the pickled relish and the greek yogurt together till well combined. Chill in the fridge till ready to be used!

oh yes, if you don’t have the aubergine and chilli pickle, you can use any relish you want and use plain greek yogurt or sour cream instead! The beauty of making your own breakkie at home – use what you have at home and let your creativity run wild!

Enjoy! (:

Cheesy Butter Prawns : A Family Project

You must be wondering, how is this post a family project. Let me explain.

My whole family is quite hilarious. We set up a group chat on Whatsapp and named it “Super Group” (of course! haha) and have been chatting to each other ever since. The 6 of us are a funny bunch and we chat about everything and anything. We are close like that. (: But the main topic that we usually discuss is of course, FOOD! We are quite a foodie family, I must admit. We enjoy cooking and we definitely enjoy eating. haha

A recent topic has been this particular dish we had at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant when they had a branch at Serangoon Gardens Country Club a few years back. It’s a favourite among the kiddos in the family and we never fail to order them when we are dining there. And now it’s gone, and we have been craving for it since!

Have you ever tried to recreate a dish that you tried at a restaurant/cafe? This was a first for me. My mum did try once a few years back, but it didn’t turn out quite the same, though still yummy. This time, I read up on some recipes online and realise it was the type of cheese we used. We always thought that we have to use the fancy cheeses. Shredded tasty, mozzarella and was pretty close to getting the expensive gruyere  to give it the last shot. But thanks to Bee from Rasa Malaysia, I found out that what chinese restaurants use is actually the slice Kraft cheese! I couldn’t quite believe it. But if there’s someone I would trust, it’s definitely Bee! So I told my mum to try using the slice cheese and being the spontaneous people we are, she made it that very night the conversation took place! haha

I planned to cook it the next day, as Friday was seafood day. Mum gave me feedback the night she cooked it, and told me that using slice Kraft cheese was perfect! It worked out well and tasted very close to the once we had at Jumbo! I got really excited. Couldn’t wait to try it!

Cheesy Butter Prawns (Adapted from Rasa Malaysia)

500g prawns, leave shells on

30g salted butter

1/4 large onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

75ml thickened cream

50ml milk

4 slices Kraft cheese

3 heap tsp of corn starch, to coat the prawns before deep frying

vegetable oil, for deep frying the prawns

salt and ground white pepper to season

coriander, for garnish

Steps : 

1) Prepare the prawns, take the heads off and keep it for other use. Carefully slice the prawn into half, length wise, keeping the shell intact and devein. Put the corn starch and coat the prawns well. Deep fry the prawns in very hot oil until the prawns are crispy and the shells have turned orangey-red. Drain and set aside.

2) Heat up a non-stick pan and add the butter. Add the garlic and onion, frying till fragrant. Careful not to burn the garlic, as it will leave a bitter after taste. Pour the thickened cream and milk into the pan, bringing it to boil. Add the prawns and lay the cheese slices on top of the prawns. Cover the pan, leaving the heat on high, and let it simmer for a few minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit more milk, a tablespoon at a time.

3) Take the lid off and stir to combine the cheese well with the prawns. Season with salt and ground white pepper. Dish out and garnish with coriander.

Serve and eat immediately with steamed jasmine rice! ENJOY!

The good thing about leaving the shell on is that it retains more of the cheese sauce which is really delicious and it’s so crispy you can just devour the whole thing! (: Well the mr and I sure did! I foresee us cooking this dish very often from now. haha Think I got to lift more weights to burn those calories off! Luckily, I’ve got a husband who is a Personal Trainer! *phew*

I declare our first family project a success! (: